Punjab Election 2017: Sending farmers abroad, Guardians of Governance and other poll promises

Apart from the rallies, allegations and counter-allegations, elections are all about promises. And some of the promises made during elections can sound a bit too ambitious, if not downright ridiculous.

And in a state like Punjab, where politicians are either trying to utilise or defend themselves from anti-incumbency, some of these poll promises really stand out.

Perhaps the best example is when the Shiromani Akali Dal's manifesto, which was launched by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in Ludhiana on 24 January, promised that if Akalis are voted to power, the government would buy one lakh acres of land in US and Canada to settle Punjabi farmers there.

Not just this, the party promised to give Rs 100 per quintal on wheat and paddy as 'fertiliser input incentive' in addition to the minimum support price (MSP), which if implemented, will put a burden of Rs 2,700 crore on the state exchequer, according to Hindustan Times. SAD has also promised to provide free power to farmers for ten hours every day.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The manifesto also promises to provide assistance to 10 toppers in Class XII for overseas education.

SAD ally BJP is also not far behind in making tall claims. In its 16-page manifesto, BJP has assured a house to every poor family besides promising plot of land to Dalits and those belonging to backward class. The party has also promised a job to at least one member from each family.

The manifesto assures making free the studies of girls till PhD level. A group housing scheme for journalists was also announced in the manifesto.

But perhaps the most entertaining poll promise came from the Congress. On 9 January, when Congress released it manifesto, Amarinder Singh announced that Congress plans to launch a programme called 'Guardians of Governance'.

"We are starting a programme called Guardians of Governance. This will be a group of ex-servicemen from panchayats to blocks to districts, right up to the chief minister. This department will be under the chief minister. They will report about the implementation of schemes. We will utitlise a discipline force. This is going to hopefully eradicate the misuse of funds," Amarinder had said.

We really do not know whether this programme's name's similarity to Guardians of the Galaxy is a coincidence or not but we really hope politicians name their promises in such a manner.

Both AAP and Congress have promised to end the drug menace in Punjab in four weeks, a pretty unrealistic promise, because the drug abuse problem in Punjab has persisted for years.

Amarinder had also said that the Congress plans to launch a programme called 'Har Ghar Mein Naukri' which plans to provide employment to 55 lakh households in Punjab. "In each district, there will be a new set-up which will monitor what type of jobs are required." Amarinder Singh had announced that the state would generate as many as 25 lakh jobs within the next five years.

"Till jobs are available, we will give a stipend of Rs 2,500 to every youngster," he had said.

AAP's poll promises also include some tall ones made to farmers in the state. In their kisan manifesto, the party promises compensation of Rs 20,000 per acre of crop loss in case of disaster and compensation of Rs 10,000 to agricultural labourers for every month of work lost in case of crop failure.

The party also promised free medical treatment in government hospitals and cashless treatment up to Rs 5 lakh every year for farmers.

AAP had launched a manifesto for government employees, promising to implement the 6th Pay Commission, besides assuring regularistion of contractual employees, if voted to power in the Assembly polls. The party also promised that all contractual employees of the state will be regularised and the minimum wages in Punjab will be reviewed by a committee.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Feb 02, 2017 09:42 AM

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